No. 1 Bulldogs Start Season With a Win

Dennis and Benedict flatten out of a roll tack during a day of practice in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Dennis and Benedict flatten out of a roll tack during a day of practice in St. Petersburg, Fla.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 1 Yale women's sailing team finished first out of 14 schools competing at the Toni Deutsch Regatta this weekend.  14 races were completed in each division at the regatta which was hosted by MIT and sailed in both FJs and MIT's new fleet of fireflies.  A division and B division switched between the FJs and the fireflies after every four races.  In the end, the Bulldogs finished with 101 points while second-place Dartmouth finished with 133.

According to the official regatta report, Saturday's races saw "S-SW breezes at 12-20 knots with some pretty wacky auto tacks thrown in."  Since the Charles River runs east to west, winds from the north or south come off of the shore and are more affected by the nearby buildings.  This causes it to be much more difficult for sailors to predict wind shifts and changes in velocity, which can result in so-called "auto tacks."

Senior Skipper and Team Captain Emily Billing was sailing A division for the Bulldogs along with Junior Crew Amanda Salvesen.  After starting off the regatta with a 13th-place finish in race one, Billing and Salvesen turned things around immediately.  They finished first in the next two consecutive races and went on to finish second overall in their division, just four points out of first.

Senior Skipper Claire Dennis and Sophomore Crew Kate Gaumond represented the Bulldogs strongly in B division.  The duo finished first overall in the division and did not finish a single race outside of the top five. 

Dennis reported that she and Gaumond "focused a lot on sailing the wind and not worrying so much about the rest of the fleet." Two reasons they were able to be so consistent were (1) they "stayed free with the ability to tack when [they] wanted" and (2) they "didn't let things [they] couldn't control get [them] frustrated."

While these members of the women's sailing team upheld Yale's No. 1 preseason ranking with their win at MIT, other members of the women's team competed in a coed regatta, the Harry Anderson, at Yale and also won.  Juniors Marlena Fauer and Eugenia Custo Greig and Sophomores Morgan Kiss and Urska Kosir not only proved that they are capable of beating the men, but they are capable of doing so in very physically demanding conditions.  Half of the races at the Harry Anderson were sailed in nearly 20 knots of wind and extreme waves.

As Dennis said herself, "overall it was a great start for the women's team." 

The Bulldogs will take Monday off, practice Tuesday through Friday and then head to Dartmouth next weekend for the Mrs. Hurst Bowl Regatta.

Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity